Library Update: Strike Authorized + Rally Tomorrow at 2 the Brown Student Labor Alliance:

The library workers’ contract was extended again, to November 8. The university is refusing to back down from its harmful proposals that would hurt working families. Library workers have voted to authorize a strike. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alums, parents, and members of the Providence community have voiced their support for a fair library contract with affordable health care.

In her public statements to the Brown Daily Herald, Vice President Huidekoper justified the proposed increases in health care costs by suggesting that the library workers’ contributions have been below “the market.” Citing the higher health care payments of workers at University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, and Providence College, Huidekoper argued that the workers should pay more to be in line with the “market average” in the area. She also cited Brown’s projected budget deficit for this year. But given the administration’s continued investment in multi-billion dollar building projects, their decision to use last year’s tuition surplus to fast-track the Campus Center renovations, their purchasing of plasma TVs for the cafeterias with profit earned from Dining Services, and a myriad other spending choices that reflect the University’s true priorities, this profession of financial woes rings more than a little untrue.

Moreover, by comparing Brown workers’ benefits to those of colleges in Rhode Island—institutions without multi-billion dollar endowments—instead of the schools Brown generally counts among its “peers”—Yale, Harvard, and other Ivies—the administration has tried to avoid accountability to the higher standards entailed by Brown’s wealth and status.

Ultimately, this debate comes down to questions of community, and valuing the crucial role library workers play in the daily functioning of the school. To support those of our community members currently facing attacks on their access to affordable health care, we will once again be rallying, this time outside of University Hall on the Brown U. Main Green on Friday, (TOMORROW) November 5 at 2pm. This will be an escalation from our last rally–the university has made it clear that it won’t back down, and neither will students, faculty, and all members of the Brown and Providence community committed to economic justice and fair treatment.

To repeat: Rally, TOMORROW November 5, 2pm, outside University Hall on the Main Green at Brown (75 Waterman). We demand a fair contract NOW!


If you haven’t already, please send an email to Brown’s Administration.

And for more info, check out the Facebook Event

3 thoughts on “Library Update: Strike Authorized + Rally Tomorrow at 2”

  1. I’m not sure you can fairly compare the cost of healthcare and wages to those of other Ivies. After all, the cost of living is significantly lower in RI than it is in Boston, NYC, New Haven, or New Jersey. Comparing it to the other schools in RI, especially the bigger ones, is a fair comparison when it comes to wages (which healthcare is part of).

  2. Ok once again what is their specific beef!? That is massively important to whether I support this strike or not. Is what the library workers pay comprable to Yale or Harvard or Cornell!? You bring up that the comparison to URI etc. might not be good but then fail to make the counter comparison. What if the ivies pay even MORE for their healthcare?

    I worked as a lower income, hourly employee at Brown. The benefits for us were unbelievably cheap. I paid well below what I could get anywhere else including what I got when working University of Chicago (not Ivy but certainly of Brown’s caliber). If Brown told me I had to pay more for my healthcare I wouldn’t be happy but I wouldn’t be surprised.

    If the library workers are enduring some hardship that is unreasonable I would be behind them all the way. If they are being asked to pay a reasonable amount for healthcare then they can find new jobs if they are unhappy with what Brown is offering.

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